OBJECTIVE OF DINGO: Score as many points as you can before the game ends.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4 players
NUMBER OF CARDS: standard 52 card deck
RANK OF CARDS: A (high), K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2
TYPE OF GAME: Shedding
AUDIENCE: All Ages
INTRODUCTION TO DINGO
While the exact origins of Dingo are not known, it is known that it is played with some popularity around card game circles in the Cleveland, Ohio area, indicating the probable area of invention.
Dingo is strictly a 4 player game.
The game utilizes a standard 52 card deck, however, the cards are referenced differently in the game.
- Cards that are diamonds are referred to as rabbits. The Ace of diamonds is the Ace rabbit.
- Cards from the hearts suit are referred to as dingoes. These cards have a special significance in the game, as the name implies.
- Both spades and clubs are referred to as wolves.
In addition to the animal nomenclature, the cards are divided into three classes:
- low cards (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9) -> score +/- 1 point
- high cards (10, Jack, Queen, King) -> score +/- 2 points
- Aces (not including rabbit) -> score +/- 3 points
- Ace Rabbit scores +10 points or -3 points
The red cards, or rabbits and dingoes, can have positive or negative score values depending upon the way they are played. This is described in detail in the section titled ‘the hunt.’ However, black cards, or wolves, are always worth positive points.
The initial dealer is chosen at random, using whatever method players prefer. Both play and the deal pass to the left.
The dealer starts by separating the diamonds from the pack, leaving the ace in the main deck. So, the main deck has 40 cards- 13 cards from the suit of hearts, spades, and clubs, as well as the single diamond card- the Ace.
The diamond cards that were separated (2-K) are put in order based upon their value (low to high, starting with 2 and ending with the King). They are then placed in the center of the table in a pile with the 2 face up and on top.
The main deck of 40 cards is then shuffled. Cards are dealt out one at a time, passing to the left, until each player has 10 cards in hand. Players may examine their hands.
THE DISCARD & THE EXCHANGE
The game starts after players have received their full hands and the 12 rabbits are in the center of the table. In order to explain this process with ease and clarity, players will be referred to as cardinal directions. The dealer shall be designated as South, the player to the left of the dealer (South) is West, to their left is North, and lastly, to the left of North is East. Keep these designations in mind while reading the following instructions.
The First Discard
Starting the with dealer, South, each player will discard a single card, face-up, into a new pile. This pile shall be separate from the pile of rabbit cards. Players are permitted to discard any card they please EXCEPT for Aces. The discarded cards should be kept in a stack so that the only card viewable is the previously discarded one.
The First Exchange — Left
Once the discard is complete, South passes any card from hand to the left for West. Once West examines their new card they pass a card to their left, and so on. East will then be the final to pass a card, which will be received by South. All cards must be passed face-down.
The Second Discards
Repeat the instructions for the first discard.
The Second Exchange — Across
Starting with South, again, and moving clockwise (to the left), players pass a single card to the player sitting across or opposite of them. So, South passes to North, then West passes to East. Then they switch, North passes to South and East to West.
The Third Discard
Follows the same paradigm as the first two discards.
The Third Exchange — Right
This exchange is done exactly the same way as the very first exchange, however; this is a subtle difference in that players will pass their cards to the right as opposed to the left. That being said, East is the only player to see the card they are passed before passing a card.
The Fourth Discard
Follows the same mechanism as previous discards. At the end, each player will have 6 cards in their hand. Once this phase is finished the players begin The Hunt.
The rabbits in the pile in the center of the table are hunted one at a time, starting from two and moving upward to King. During this phase of Dingo, players put the cards they accumulate in two piles: the scoring pile, which is vertical, and the penalty pile, which is horizontal. Once the game is completed players score themselves, their score is the total in the scoring pile minus the total of the penalty pile.
To initiate the hunt, the dealer announces the value of the top card of the rabbit pile. A player with a dingo of the same rank MUST play it (face-up). Once the dingo is played, the other 3 players have the option to play 1 (or 2) wolves also of equal rank. This gives rise to one of four scenarios:
- No dingo. If no one has the dingo, the rabbit card is put in the discard pile. No wolves may be played. No one scores.
- Dingo and no wolves. If a dingo is played but no wolves are played, the rabbit is discarded, and the dingo is placed in that player’s penalty pile.
- Dingo and 1 wolf. In this scenario, the dingo is placed in that player’s (the player who played the Dingo) scoring pile. The player who played the wolf captures the rabbit and both cards are added to their score pile.
- Dingo and 2 wolves. The first wolf played and the dingo are added to the Dingo’s scoring pile. The second wolf, however, captures the rabbit and places both cards in their scoring pile. The player who played the 1st wolf scores nothing.
- Players are not required to play wolves
- If the Dingo player has one or both wolves, they cannot play them.
- If a player, who is not the Dingo player, has both wolves they may legally play both cards. However, this is not in your best interests (typically) because the first wolf played goes into the Dingo player’s score pile.
Once the King rabbit has been hunted, the dealer announces Ace Hunt. This phase of the game has different rules than the previous hunts, Since Aces could not be discarded, they should all be in hand of the players.
The player with the Ace Dingo must play it. No other card may be played with it.
After, starting to the left of the Ace Dingo player, each player (passing to the left) may play either one or two wolves. The dingo player ends the game after their turn.
The player with the Ace Rabbit may only play it on their turn if both Ace wolves were played already. A player with both wolves and the rabbit can then play all three at once.
- If an Ace wolf is played, each ace played goes to their scoring pile.
- If no wolves are played, the dingo perishes and is put in the Dingo player’s penalty pile.
- Once the ace hunt is complete, the dealer calls out for the Ace rabbit (if it has not been played). The player who has it must reveal it and put it in their penalty pile.
Once the play has completed, players show the cards they have left in hand to each other. Cards which are red (dingos and the Ace rabbit) mean the holder has been ‘caught red-handed’ and is immediately disqualified. Once all players are cleared, they begin scoring up their piles. A players final score is the total of their scoring pile minus the total of their penalty pile. Use the card value table above (in the introduction) for scoring card values.
The player who has the highest total score is the winner! In the event of a tie, the player with the highest value rabbit (which is not a dead Ace rabbit, however, live ones do count) wins the game!